How do you get ready for cold and flu season?

September 20, 2013

I’ll keep this brief, because it’s important, and I want you to read it.

1. Get as much vitamin D from the sun as you can NOW (from Oct – April, you can’t really get it, even if you lay out at our latitude – I’m assuming you are in NYC, like I am). I talk about the safest and best way to do this in my sunscreen article.

2. If you have low vitamin D levels, your doctor should be telling you to supplement.  It will definitely help you avoid or lessen the impact of colds and flus.  [NOTE: All nutrients, foods and your own body chemistry work together, and taking something in isolation without understanding the whole picture is not a great idea, so for realz – talk to your doctor.  For example, to be absorbed, Vitamin D needs to be taken with fat.  It works together with Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin K and Calcium, and others, all in different amounts.  Messing up the balance of your body is a bad idea.]

3. Get yourself some high quality, homemade chicken broth and keep it in the freezer just in case you need it.  (Worse case, you make soup in the spring.)  You don’t want to be traipsing around with a 104 degree fever looking for the stuff when you’re sick and then settling for some MSG-laden crap.  In my humble opinion, there is NOTHING better for a cold or flu than rest and chicken broth.

4. Keep some natural remedies on hand.  Photos of the stuff I use are below, and explanations are after that.

For Cold & Flu Season

From left to right: Traditional Medicinals tea in “Breathe Easy ” and “Throat Coat” flavors, Now brand Tru-C (Vit C), Quantum Thera Zinc Spray, Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil and High Vitamin Butter Oil, Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil and Oregano Oil.

Aside from consistently taking SOMETHING to raise your vitamin D levels if they are low, I consider oregano oil and zinc spray the be my main first defenses if feel a cold/flu coming on.   My oregano oil is Integral Yoga’s own brand, and I put a 1-3 drops under my tongue when I feel a sickness coming on.  Warning: it is very strong and it burns, and it upsets my stomach a tiny bit.  I’m not telling you it’s a cure for colds and flus (or anything else for that matter), I’m telling you I take it and I like it for certain uses.  BUT USE WITH CAUTION, talk to a doctor about it, you can mix it with something else, and I would not give it to a child.  I have a post on the zinc spray here.  Oh, and when I take the Vitamin C, I break open the capsule and put it under my tongue.  It is incredibly sour.  Have water handy.

Cough Syrup and Goldenseal

I’ve been using Honey Gardens Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup for years. I use Goldenseal for sinus infections.

Again, remember, I’m not telling you that any of this stuff cures anything… I’m just saying it’s what I use.  Talk to your doctor.  A warning on the goldenseal – this is a tincture, and I put a few drops under my tongue if I feel nasal / sinus congestion coming on.  It tastes HORRIBLE, and it upsets my stomach a little bit, but it has often helped me.  I would not use this on a child, because it tastes so bad, but your doctor can direct you more knowledgeably than I can.

5. You should have some sort of electrolyte solution on hand just in case you get sick, and I don’t like Gatorade or a sports drink for that situation, because there’s too much sugar and other stuff in drinks like that.  I like Smart Water, or clear, unflavored Pedialyte (which kind of tastes nasty), but I think your best bet to have around is probably Oral Rehydration Salts or something similar.

6.  A humidifier is also a great idea (my buying guide), but only if you use it and keep it very clean.  If you need to steam yourself in a pinch, Boil an inch or so of water in a pot, wait about 5 minutes or so, then put it on a burn proof oven mitt or something stable and nonflammable like that in a stable area FAR AWAY FROM THE STOVE OR FIRE and put your face about a foot or two above it with a towel over your head, so the steam doesn’t escape.  Start far away and move closer in a comfortable range, to make sure you don’t burn yourself or your nasal passages.  Then breathe in to get that warm, moist air in your sinuses and lungs.  It might help loosen up mucous so you can get it out.

7.  A few other things: sleep is super important, so is exercise and moving around.  Large muscle movement (walking, running, cardio, etc.) moves lymph around your body and helps you stay healthy.  Don’t eat sugar/sweet treats/junk when you feel like you are getting sick.  I think it just makes everything worse and your body more susceptible.  Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before you eat, touch your face, scratch your nose, wipe your eyes, put on make up, touch your mouth, etc.  It makes a difference.  Have some wipes in your bag, so you can clean your hands if you’re not around a sink.  I use the Cleanwell pocket pack of wipes.


Coffee maker?

September 10, 2013

My very good friend W just sent me an email that said

Any recommendations for a coffee maker? I only drink it 3x a week or so (always just 1 cup), so I don’t need any massive device. Something cheap that can be cleaned easily that I can make decent coffee in.   I feel as though you will get carried away and write a 7 page report on this.

I may get carried away on this, because it’s my nature to get carried away, but
  1. I don’t drink coffee, neither does my husband.
  2. I have a Tassimo, which guests seem to love (for some crazy reason the company sent me one for free), but I think is super toxic (don’t put steaming water through plastic – bad things happen).
  3. I did a lot of research on coffee, because I helped a relative try to improve her health.
The best thing for you is to cold brew organic coffee (put grounds in cold water overnight and brew strongly and then add hot water to that strained liquid in the morning – google for exact instuctions, as I’ve never done it).  It will be have around 60% less acidity and you will reduce your toxin level tremendously by going organic (coffee is one of the most pesticide-heavy consumable crops there is – I say “consumable” because cotton is so much worse!).
If you don’t want to brew it yourself, the coffee brand I bought for my relative because I found it to be very high quality was Kickstand coffee, and you might be able to find a coupon online.  It’s organic, it’s cold-pressed, and it comes in a glass bottle.
Ok, you didn’t ask about any of that, you asked about a coffee maker, so I will say this:
I can’t recommend a brand, but go for anything glass (no plastic, no single-use), and if you use a filter, use a stainless steel filter with no plastic, or VERY carefully selected unbleached paper filters.  Most tea bags and coffee filters are highly toxic because of the plastics they use to reinforce the fibers to make them tear-resistant, and because of the plastics and other materials used to seal the sides (if applicable).  Just google “toxic teabag” and “toxic coffee filter” for more info.

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